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Miranda Writes: The Secret to Contentment, Part 3




by Omar Miranda

The last secret is simple: serve someone else.

This week we’ll be looking at the last of three secrets to contentment. Last week we looked at the importance of thankfulness—not for the bad things that happen to us, but for God’s presence and love in our lives.

Throughout our series on contentment, I’ve been focusing on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Specifically, we’ve been looking at how contentment is important in our lives, how we can have it, and how it should change us. As I’ve said before, Paul’s focus on having joy, peace, and contentment throughout even the most difficult of times has been a useful and important thing for us to look at in this world, where so many people just don’t seem to be joyous, peaceful, or thankful about anything, ever!

This week we’ll be discussing the importance of serving others. Our service to others is the truest and surest way that we prove that we have a real relationship with Christ (secret 1) and that we are truly thankful (secret 2). The attitude that comes out of a relationship with Christ just can’t help itself in ministering to others—as Jesus did—and serving them. Jesus said in Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (TNIV).1

Mother Teresa, world-renowned Catholic nun who spent almost her entire life serving the poorest of the poor in the worst conditions in India, said these wise words about service:

“You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. Jesus made it very clear: Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me.” And I like the clarity of this other quote by her: “Love cannot remain by itself—it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.”

I absolutely agree with what Mother Teresa had to say, and you know what? So did the apostle Paul. This week I’d like us to look at Paul’s teaching to the Philippians about how a deep, intimate, and growing relationship with Jesus should be affecting us and how that effect should generate within us a desire to serve others—not just other Christians, but the world at large.

“Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God’s Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross” (Philippians 2:1-8, CEV).2

Did you notice how at the beginning of the passage Paul is so careful to clearly show a deepening and intimate relationship with Jesus (verse 1), and the natural outgrowth of that relationship is a widening circle of love and concern for others (verses 2-4)? Did you notice that when we spend time with Jesus, we will begin to think like Him, respond like Him, and love like Him (verse 5)? Did you notice the connection there between humility (being humble) and service to others? You and I can never serve anybody if we first don’t humble ourselves, and we can’t truly have the power—given to us by the Holy Spirit—and the right attitude to humble ourselves if we don’t spend time with Jesus. So it really all begins and ends with Jesus. Paul clearly shows us in verses 5-8 what Jesus did as He humbled Himself to serve us—for more than 30 years! I believe that Paul showed us what Jesus did for us for two reasons:

1. So we wouldn’t complain about humbling ourselves and would get some perspective.

2. So we would have an example of how we should and could do it.
In light of all this information I’ve shared, I’ve got some questions for you to consider that will hopefully end with some concrete action steps to get you to begin and/or possibly increase your service to others:

1. Whom can you serve right now? Your family, your friends, your community, your enemies?

2. How can you serve? What gifts and talents do you have?

3. Where should you serve? Your family, your church, your school, a local charity/community center?

4. What should you do? Mentor somebody, answer phones, serve food somewhere?

My hope and prayer is that after you read these words, you’ll do the right thing for the right reasons. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still ultimately doing the wrong thing. Just take a look at Matthew 23 and what the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did. Jesus says in Matthew 7:24:

“Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock” (CEV).

So don’t just read this information and say, “Well, that’s good information to know. I guess it’s cool for somebody else to do.” No! Do something with it, and then do something about it! Remember, Jesus did it for you when you couldn’t do it for yourself. Based upon your relationship with Him and your thankful response to His great love and sacrifice for you, serve someone else and keep passing Jesus’ love along.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 770-354-2912


1 Bible texts credited to TNIV are from the Holy Bible, Today’s New International Version. Copyright 2001, 2005 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
2 Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.
 





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